Monday, July 21, 2014

YW Camp 2014

I just spent this past week attending YW Camp with this beautiful group of about 140 Young Women and another 40 or so leaders.   

There were  21 girls there from our ward, including 2 nonmembers.   Another several girls could have come, but opted not to for a variety of reasons. 

Kim and I were the only leaders from our ward that stayed the entire week, but on Friday Cindy, Kelly, and Rochelle came up to help drive girls to the ropes course in Front Royal.  

Kim and I were not disappointed when one of them brought a bag of chocolate to share with us! 

Emma absolutely loves camp and the opportunity it gives her to participate in cool activities like rock climbing at the ropes course.

She also loves the opportunity it gives to spend lots of quality time with her friends! 

I, personally, didn't get to spend a lot of time with Emma during the week, since most of the activities were done by level and not by ward, but it was fun to steal a few hugs here and there.    

The girls love this "tweet" line along the dining hall wall where they can leave notes to one another!

Another favorite activity was karaoke singing.  I was pretty skeptical when I first heard what we were doing that night, but it actually ended up to be quite a fun activity that evolved into more of a group singalong than actual karaoke. 

Even the adults got into it too! 

After the karaoke singalong, we distributed 3 glow sticks per person and turned out the lights for some glow stick dancing!  I had fun trying to capture the movements of the girls without turning on my flash! 

I was in charge of 12 crafts over two afternoons.  I felt that all of the crafts were fun and mostly successful, but  making these magnet boards was probably the favorite of the craft stations   

The table of nail polish and emery boards also turned out to be a hit.   It was cute to see how excited some of the girls were to freshen up their camping visage with a bit of nail polish!   Katy and Ashley really missed having Cami there! 

We had Ward Time for two of the days where all the girls from our ward got to gather together with me for a devotional.   On Wednesday we had an object lesson about not speaking ill of others, then I had the girls wear signs and walk around and write compliments onto other people's signs.   All the girls seemed to enjoy the activity, but it was especially sweet to see how excited my first years were about it (and everything else at camp too)!

One of the most memorable and spiritual parts of camp was the "Tree of Life" activity.  Based on the account of Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon, the girls walked through mists of darkness (the dark woods with leaders trying to tempt them to leave the path) and were eventually led to a rope railing for them to hold onto to bring them to this "tree of life".   It was powerful imagery about how easy it is to feel lost and afraid on our journey in life, but if we hold strong to the principles of the gospel and to God's word, we can be led to safety and joy!   We sang songs and  had a short devotional at the end to bring the experience even more meaning.  

I absolutely love the opportunity camp gives for me to spend time with these lovely young women.  They face so much on a day-to-day basis, but they are graceful, beautiful, and shining examples of goodness in this world! 

Katy is a veteran girls' camper, one of Cami's best friends,  and  a YCL extraordinaire, but she was still excited when her dad and mom came for Bishop's night.   The Harrison's are a wonderful family and I am grateful to  know them!

The 2 girls (on either end) were in Emma's home preschool group back in the day.  It's amazing to see them all grown up now! 

It was so cute to hear the girls pondering in the car on the way home from camp about what they thought that next year's camp would be like!  

I came home on Saturday and completely crashed.  I had a lesson to prepare for Sunday, but other than that was totally useless.  In fact, I came home from church yesterday and crashed again---both emotionally and physically.   I was almost as big of a mess as my house was, but after lots of sleep and some home cooking, I am feeling much more chipper and normal today!  


A few more tidbits about YW camp 2014:

Theme:  Journeys

Location:  Lions Camp

Weather:  AWESOME!    A good old fashioned 'polar vortex' swept into the area on Tuesday and made the temperatures and humidity levels well below normal.  It was a tender mercy as far as I am concerned, since normal July weather in Virginia is highly unpleasant and even more-so when you don't have access to air conditioning!

Accommodations:  I was in a tent with Kim, behind the third level cabins, Emma was in a second level cabin with Elena and the rest of her group

Emma's YCL's:   Haley, Whitney, Mad

Emma's group:  Southern Belles

Favorites:  Ropes course, Tree of Life, crafts, the weather, karaoke singalong, the opportunity to "get away" from real life, being with the girls

Least favorites:  bugs, lack of sleep, the shower situation, being far away from the bathrooms, being totally out of touch with my family

Shirt colors:  leaders--red, first years--blue, second years--orange,  third years--pink, fourth years--green, YCL's--yellow

Sleeping:  Three of the nights I actually got a little cold during the night.   It was much chillier than I expected it to be and I had to stay curled up in my sleeping bag, with sweatshirt and socks on to stay warm.  The last night we were there, the temperature was absolutely perfect for sleeping.  Too bad the girls were up so late!   One night we were woke up by a strange howling sound right outside our tent.  It was a little disconcerting, but when I did some research when I got home I realized that it was only a barred owl call.  

Girls from our ward:  
first years:   McKenzie, Maeve, Aubrey, Moema, Lola, Laura
second years:  Emma, Elena, Ana, Maria
third years:   Anna W., Mikayla
fourth years:  Miko, Rachel, Courtney (just for Friday)
YCL's:  Ashley, Katy, Kelly R., Maddie M., Annika, Anna B.
leaders:  Lara (me), Kim, Debbie (for Tuesday night), Rochelle (for Friday night), Kelly (for Friday), Cindy (for Friday)


Saimi said...

Awww what great pictures! I love girls camp but since our Stake had Trek we didn't do Girls camp this year
Looks like you girls had a blast!!

R said...

I'm impressed. Sounds like a wonderful Young Women's camp with lots of fun and interesting things to do.

I can see why you were totally worn out.

Jennifer McArthur said...

Those are the best pictures I've ever seen from any Girl's Camp ever! Everyone looks so happy!

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